20 January 2012




The case of Noriyo Ohara, a.k.a. Marefe Laganas, was exposed by veteran journalist Ramon Tulfo when members of her foster family, the Marzans of Brgy. Gueset, Bugallon, Pangasinan, complained to him in his public service program, “Isumbong mo kay Tulfo,” on Radyo Inquirer-dzIQ. Hence, on November 15, 2011, Ramon Tulfo talked with Atty. Magtanggol B. Gatdula, the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and brought to his attention the case of the Japanese woman who was allegedly  in the custody of the Security Management Division (SMD) of the NBI.

Ramon Tulfo and Director Gatdula continued to communicate with each other through text messages about Ohara between November 17, 2011 and December 1, 2011. Mr. Tulfo kept reminding Director Gatdula that the Japanese woman in the custody of the SMD was kidnapped and that ransom was paid and more being demanded, and questioned why Ohara continued to be detained in the NBI and not turned over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) if, indeed, she was an illegal alien. His concerns having been unacted upon, Mr. Tulfo informed Secretary Leila M. De Lima about Ohara’s case and sought an audience with her for her to meet with the Marzan family. On December 2, 2011, Mr. Tulfo and the Marzan family were able to meet with the Secretary. Apprised of the situation of Ohara, Secretary De Lima immediately gave a verbal directive to Director Gatdula for the turnover of Ohara to the BI.

The case of Ohara caught national attention when, on December 3, 2011, Mr. Tulfo came out with his first article in his Inquirer column  “On Target” detailing the facts surrounding the alleged kidnapping-for-ransom committed by agents of the SMD, mentioning the names of Mario Garcia, Jose Odellon (should be Odelon) Cabillan, and a certain “Chona” and “Labsky”. He followed it up with another article in his column of December 6, 2011, and another one in his column of December 8, 2011.   Other columns on the issue followed.

Cognizant of Mr. Tulfo’s exposes, the President ordered Secretary De Lima to conduct an investigation to determine the veracity of the very serious and disturbing allegations raised against some NBI agents and officials. 

On December 6, 2011, Secretary De Lima issued a Memorandum to Director Gatdula for the turnover of the person of Noriyo Ohara from the NBI to BI. Said Memorandum also  directed the submission of a complete incident report, including an explanation as to why there was no compliance by the NBI with her verbal directive on December 2, 2011 regarding the turnover, and  required Director Gatdula to address some preliminary points identified therein.

On even date, Secretary De Lima issued Department Order (D.O.) No. 1007 constituting a Fact-Finding Panel (“Panel”) to investigate the case of Ohara. The Secretary designated Undersecretary FRANCISCO F. BARAAN III as Chairman of the Panel, with Assistant Secretary ZABEDIN M. AZIS and City Prosecutor DONALD T. LEE as Vice-Chairman and Member, respectively.

Pursuant to D.O. No. 1007, s. 2011, the Fact-Finding Panel was tasked to investigate the reported involvement of certain officers and members of the SMD in the alleged “kidnap-for-ransom”: Special Investigator (SI) Mario Garcia, NBI-SMD Chief; Jose Odelon Cabillan, NBI-SMD Executive Officer; and two (2) other persons identified as “Chona” and “Labsky”. The Panel was likewise mandated to investigate the reported involvement of high-ranking NBI officials. The Secretary directed the Panel to submit a report of its findings and recommendations on the veracity of the allegations made against the NBI officials and employees,  the report to include the possible filing of appropriate criminal and administrative charges against those who may be found to have been responsible and gave the Panel thirty (30) days to do so.

On December 8, 2011 and December 9, 2011, Secretary De Lima issued D.O. Nos. 1020 and 1025, respectively, designating the members of the Secretariat that will provide legal, technical and administrative assistance to the Fact-Finding Panel....download full report in PDF format - FACT-FINDING REPORT ON THE NORIYO OHARA CASE.

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